This year’s botched Budget has failed to deliver on many of the promises the Government made to parents, teachers and students showing education is not the high priority the Government has previously promised, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“The increase in schools’ operational funding is not enough to keep up with rising costs for schools including the Government’s increases to the minimum wage.
“Yesterday’s mega strike was the largest education industrial action undertaken in our history. Thousands of teachers took to the streets to protest pay, workload and issues around supporting children with additional learning needs. This budget is totally underwhelming and provides little to address the collective bargaining issues. More strikes have been confirmed in secondary.
“It is pretty incredible given the strikes that Labour has made such large cuts in the tens of millions to the Investing in Education Success initiative which will see fewer salary payments for some teachers. There are cuts to ICT graduate schools, international teacher exchanges and teacher-led innovation funding.
“The Government raised expectations and made big promises, but we estimate there are more than 60 that they haven’t delivered on. Labour has delivered less than 5 per cent of the investment they promised for their school leaver toolkit.
“While Labour has provided $150 per student as an incentive for schools to not ask for donations, it’s likely only a proportion of schools will take this up. There will be parents in higher deciles who will feel let down by their policy that discriminates on decile. This doesn’t deliver on their promise to end donations parents were lead to believe.
“There are no devices for every child, no funding to ensure 100 per cent qualified teachers at early learning centre, no three years fees-free, no modernising of school buildings and only a fraction of what is needed and promised for health support and learning facilitators, and they haven’t uncapped ORS funding for children with complex needs.
“The Government has once again tried to repackage business as usual school property spend. It’s delayed the Auckland Growth plan by 18 months, which could’ve seen us build more schools in high growth areas like Auckland. The $1.2 billion over 10 years will not address the needs for high growth areas. This is slick PR exercise on business as usual property funding.
“The Budget has funding for classrooms, but what good are classrooms if there are no teachers to work in them because they have left the profession?
“Their flagship fees-free scheme has been a flop and while funding has been provided for growth in early learning a number of their promises in this area have been watered down or not delivered. This Government was left with growing surpluses, but it created massive expectations and has now failed to deliver the basics in education.”